Japan imports more Humboldt squid from Peru, as massive Chinese fleet returns
Japan has imported more Humboldt squid from Peru in recent years, mainly for use in processed products that previously used domestic Japanese flying squid.
The first year that Japanese customs report imports from Peru under the harmonized tariff code 0307.43.030 is 2017. The code covers Japanese flying squid (Peaceful todarodes), giant flying squid (Dosidicus gigas, also called Humboldt squid), Japanese squid (Loliole spp.), shortfin squid (Illex spp.) and sparkling enope squid (Sparkling Watasenia). However, the squid caught on the west coast of South America, from the Galapagos Islands to southern Chile, are predominantly Humboldt. The Illex the squid is found across the continent, off the Falkland Islands, Argentina and Uruguay.
Japanese customs records show that the quantity imported from Peru in 2017 was 11.6 million kilograms, valued at 2.5 billion JPY (22.8 million USD, 19.3 million EUR). While values ââper kilogram fluctuate from year to year, volumes have since shown a general upward trend: to 13.4 million kilograms, valued at JPY 3.8 billion (34.7 million USD, 29.4 million million EUR) in 2018; 15.3 million kilos, valued at 3.85 billion JPY (35.1 million USD, 29.7 million EUR) in 2019; and 17.1 million kilograms, valued at 3.45 billion JPY (31.5 million USD, 26.7 million EUR) in 2020. This does not count squid exported in processed form.
Humboldt’s squid grows from a millimeter to over a meter in just one year, and usually reproduces and dies within one to two years. The range of the squid is expanding with global warming. In the Northern Hemisphere, they have grown to year round residents of Monterey Bay, California, United States and can be seen as far north as Alaska. In the southern hemisphere, they extend their range to Chile.
Ecuador, Peru’s northern neighbor, was spooked by the sudden arrival in August 2020 of around 260 Chinese jigging squid vessels just outside the country’s exclusive economic zone around the Galapagos Islands. However, this has been happening for many years, although the media only focused on it intensively last year, when Global Fishing Watch began publishing satellite data that showed the massive scale of the fishery.
The event made Ecuadorian fishing companies realize that if the Chinese traveled halfway around the world to harvest squid, they might be missing something good on their doorstep. Ecuador has been fishing for squid in its own EEZ, and the country’s Instituto Nacional de Pesca has been promoting directed Humboldt squid fishing since 2015. However, this is primarily not targeted fishing and export processing. is not yet well developed. Currently, squid are caught by driftnets as bycatch and often used as bait in dolphinfish and billfish longline fisheries.
Squid is abundant in the Gulf of Guayaquil. Six industrial vessel licenses and 30 artisanal vessel licenses are currently authorized under a ministerial agreement. But in order for Ecuador to participate in fishing in nearby international waters and to promote squid as an export commodity, the country is considering completing the conversion of vessels, adding treatment on board or ashore. with sufficient quality control, to create a marketing system and conduct further biological studies to assess the population and understand interactions with squid in Peruvian waters.
In the most recent catch data from the Instituto Nacional de Pesca, titled “Web Report of the Giant Squid Resource (Dosidicus gigas) Province of Santa Elena, August 2021Â», The artisanal fishery based at the northern end of the Gulf of Guayaquil took a total of 24.6 metric tonnes. 95.1 percent of this was landed in Puerto Santa Rosa, the rest in Puerto Anconcito. It is for August only, at the end of the high season. In June, the first landed over 100 MT and the second around 60 MT.
Currently 85 percent of Ecuador’s fishery exports are tuna, mostly landed at the port of Manta, but the fleet is mostly around 40 years old and losing competitiveness. Ecuador sees Humboldt’s squid as a possible lifeline, according to the report.
However, Ecuadorian fishermen will face increasing global competition in fishing. China’s massive fleet isn’t the only one targeting squid at the edge of South America’s EEZs. Taiwan and South Korea also fish for squid in the South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans, although in much smaller numbers, and Spain is part of the Illex fishing off Argentina.
While the size of the fleets of other players has remained fairly stable, that of China has grown from 54 active vessels in the South Pacific to 557 last year, according to the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO). . China’s catches have exploded from 70,000 metric tonnes to 358,000 metric tonnes.
This year, China’s intensive fishing effort was tracked by the environmental group Sea Shepherd, which followed the Chinese fleet off the Galapagos with on-board reporters from the Associated Press and Spanish broadcaster Univision. The two media organizations rpress releases on September 24, and Sea Shepherd plans announced to release a mini-video documentary on September 30.
A snapshot of the Sea Shepherd report revealed that of the 29 squids it documented fishing around the Galapagos this summer, 24 either had a history of forced labor allegations; previous convictions for illegal fishing; a history of using multiple electronic identities to evade the monitoring organization; or operated “dark” – by turning off their mandatory location transponders. Sea Shepherd said it also intercepted a refueling tanker operated by a subsidiary of a company accused of violating United Nations sanctions against North Korea.